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NJAC will not appoint judges till SC decides on its validity


New Delhi:  The National Judicial Appointments Commission, whose constitutional validity has been challenged, will not make fresh appointments of judges to higher judiciary till the issue is settled, the government today told the Supreme Court.

The NJAC will only deal with appointment of existing additional judges of High Courts, whose tenures are ending during pendency of the controversy, the Court today said.

A five-judge Constitutional bench headed by Justice J S Khehar also assured by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi the NJAC will not make appointments of judges to the Supreme Court and High Courts and will move the court in such an eventuality.

The Centre’s assurance came when the court said if it decides to stay or set aside the NJAC Act then what will happen to those persons who, in the meantime, are appointed to the bench either in the apex court or in high courts.

“If the Act stays then it (appointment) is fine,” the bench, also comprising justices J Chelameswar, Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel, said.

“I will first come and tell the court if any fresh appointment is made,” the Attorney General said.

The bench had yesterday asked Rohatgi to take instruction from competent authority about the additional judges in high courts whose tenure is coming to an end in the immediate future when the matter will be pending before the court.

During brief proceedings today, the Attorney General said barring four-five cases, all recommendations of erstwhile collegium have been accepted.

On the issue of re-appointment or extension of additional HC judges, he said that tenures of two or three judges of Assam High Court, seven to eight  in the Bombay High Court are ending in June and hence, the issue be “kept open” till May 11 as the NJAC is likely to be constituted by May 4.

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